... from the Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News archive

Visiting Local Churches No. 24

Holy Trinity, Rudgwick

The church tower is not easily spotted on the road from Ewhurst, it lies on high ground tucked behind the flower-decked "Kings Arms". Fortunately this location does not disturb its peaceful charm. Part of the boundary between Surrey and Sussex runs along the edge of the churchyard.

Alard, the Fleming, who died in 1263, held the advowson of the church and building; the West Tower was probably erected during his lifetime. Further evidence of the antiquity of the church is shown in records of payment of taxes to Pope Nicholas VI in 1291.

The tower is the oldest part of the church and has a 14th century window above the door and two lancets on the north and south sides. A new belfry floor, known as the June Kirkpatrick room, was added in celebration of the 2nd millennium on 3rd September 2001. An interesting arcade of three C14th arches separate the nave from the north aisle.The nave and chancel all date from 1500's, all necessary restorations have faithfully used old materials.

On each side of the chancel arch there are restored panels of the Ten Commandments, The Creed and The Lord's Prayer. Fronted with four columns of beautifully carved angels, the altar table dates from the 17th century, it is of Belgian origin. In the Belfry are six bells, including three inscribed 1770, two recast bells dated 1867 and the latest one was added in 1930. There are 170 kneelers, all different. They depict local occasions, places and memories of loved ones. Among them is one commemorating a sailor who lost his life aboard HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War and another with a picture of Concorde. Various wall tablets record, and stained glass windows commemorate, some of Holy Trinity's many distinguished parishioners. The choir stalls are dedicated to members of the Secretan family including an only son, a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Sussex Regiment, who died of wounds in Belgium, May 1940. On the wall by the pulpit another soldier, this time 1st World War, is remembered - Capt. William Renton of the King's Dragoon Guards. killed in action June 1915 at Chateau Hooge.

As you leave don't miss the very unusual late C12th square font: it is of Sussex marble and has a double-stepped platform.

By Eric Burleton, Abinger & Coldharbour Parish News, February 2004